Gypsy Sprinkles Homework

My grandma’s memorial is this afternoon in Alexandria Virginia and my Aunt Julie has agreed to read a small message from me since I can’t be there. Here’s what I wrote.

The best part about someone else reading your statement is that you can write whatever you want and they have to read it.

Hello, my name is Julie and I LOVE to wear pink.

But, seriously, this is a message from Grandma Porter’s granddaughter, Kristin, who lives in Europe.

She says,

“For me, funerals are a celebration of life, rather than a lamentation of death, and to that end, I’d like to share three moments we shared that made me realize that Grandma is one of the fiercest, bravest women I have ever had the honour of knowing. And I’m so thankful that we’re related because now I can blame my obsession with sprinkles, my twisted sense of humor and my urge to buck the system on her.

Grandma always kept sprinkles in the house for me.

Sure, it might’ve also been for other kids or MAYBE for Grandpa, but I always thought of them as MY sprinkles.

And, of course, there was always plenty of ice cream.

One night, I was eating ice cream with sprinkles and enjoying it so much that after I finished everything that could be scooped with a spoon, I started finishing it up by licking the bowl.

Grandma was aghast.

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Goodbye, Grandma

The following piece is written by my grandpa, Edwin Arnold Porter, and my cousin, Cassie Lopez.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, 14 March 2019, our beloved Dorothy Genevieve Porter died peacefully in her sleep at home.

Dorothy was born on 5 February 1926. She was adopted by Adolph and Harriett Hoven and grew up in Tillamook, Oregon. She married Arnie when she was 20 and he was 19. They shared nearly 73 years of marriage, as an Air Force family. They lived across four countries and moved fourteen times, having three kids along the way- Steve, Lisa and Julie.

She studied music at Northwest Christian College and became a Church Musician. She sang, played the piano and organ and conducted prize winning choirs almost everywhere the family was assigned. 

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Big Breath In. Big Breath Out. Repeat.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

I’m halfway out the door already today with one full day of work left before I’m “off” for the next two weeks.

Cause grandma.


TL;DR my mother’s mother is on home hospice. My daughter is named after her. So I’m grabbing girl twin and running to the States to introduce them and say goodbye.

I’m still… finding it… difficult to think about?

One of my earliest memories is attending my great grandmother’s funeral and seeing my mom cry.

I was thoroughly confused.

But now MY grandmother is in hospice and I am….

I’m still in shock.

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So I Ran Over to Brno And Then

Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash

If the flight out to Prague was surreal and delightful, the return flight was surreal and miserable.

End of January beginning of February is DevConf.CZ and FOSDEM and since both are quite close to where I live, the plan was to run out to Brno for the first event, run back home for a few days, then zoom down to Brussels for the other event.


I woke up miserable on Sunday, but since I had stayed out late the night before, I just stumbled into the shower, thinking I only needed a little steam healing. But I just felt worse. And worse.

…and worse.

I took a minute to count up the symptoms. Fever. Cough. Achy skin.

“Influenza” is too wimpy a word for what I had.

I call it Zombie Death Plague.

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No Headaches, Yet, But

When at home, we speak English, but in public, as much as possible, I try to speak Dutch which just means that I’m damn good at ordering a cup of coffee and buying my train ticket at the kiosk – when I travel the use of Dutch explodes quite a bit between the hotel / commute / airport.

When we first moved to the Netherlands seven years ago I used to get headaches because my brain would try to serve up Japanese as my second language instead of going straight to Dutch. Every time I’d try to practice, my brain would translate Dutch to Japanese to English and back again.

For about six months.

One day I woke up and the Japanese was gone.

Like, GONE gone.

Whenever I’d try to think of some common phrase, my brain gave me Dutch.


But then we had kids and I really want them to be familiar with some Japanese, so I started re-learning via Duolingo. And also, because my partner and our three children are Swedish, I thought now would be a great time to fold in Swedish as well.

So every day I complete at least one module of all three languages within the app, never imagining there would be a situation when I used more than two languages within a short period of time.

And then.

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